The British Columbia Institute of Technology and Cisco Canada have partnered on the Industrial Network Cybersecurity Lab to address the global demand for cybersecurity talent.
As Canadian organizations face risk from cyber threats, a recent study from Cisco and Angus Reid shows that 36% of Canadian organizations lack the talent to properly invest in cybersecurity infrastructure.
The INC Lab is a state-of-the-art facility for students in BCIT’s INC diploma program that merges cybersecurity and industrial network skills with game-based learning and real-world scenarios. Taught alongside Cisco Networking Academy, students learn to defend against cyberthreats to industrial, manufacturing, and critical infrastructure organizations.
“The INC program is a direct response to the industry’s growing need for cybersecurity skills to protect critical infrastructure and keep our communities running,” explains David Leversage, Program Champion, BCIT. “The INC Lab gives students an edge; they hone their skills using the same industrial controls and latest Cisco technology found in the real-world.”
Two-thirds of Canadian businesses are struggling to find and hire the necessary talent with digital skills for their organizations. Among those planning to hire more staff, 24% ranked cyber security as the top skill they’re looking to fill.
“The financial impact of cybercrime is set to cost the world $10.5 trillion by 2025,” notes Shannon Leininger, president, Cisco Canada. “As more of our infrastructure is digitized—utilities, petroleum, food supply systems and more—it is critical that we have the talent to protect our industrial networks from threats and attacks.”
Cisco Canada invested in the INC Lab by providing Networking Academy curriculum and technology that simulates control systems found in industrial settings like manufacturing plants and facilities.
“There is no other institution in North America that offers this type of immersive experience,” believes Leversage, “and our in-demand graduates can pursue high-paying jobs in one of the hottest job markets.”
The investment was made through Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration program, which forms strategic partnerships with governments to help build the workforce of the future.
“Cisco is investing its resources and expertise to help governments and the public sector fuel digital skills training and secure a pipeline of cybersecurity leaders,” stated Leininger. “Canada relies on these skilled professionals to keep our communities safe and productive, while building toward a more resilient future.”
The BCIT Industrial Network Cybersecurity program was first launched in 2019 as a collaboration between the School of Energy and the School of Computing and Academic Studies.
An initial cohort of 20 has since doubled to an intake of 40.